CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) AND PREGNANCY: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Pregnancy can be scary, strange and daunting; even at the best of times. So it’s no surprise that the COVID-19 outbreak is causing a lot of anxiety in many mums-to-be. With the constant daily updates on what NOT to do, there comes a lot of confusion around ways to keep yourself and bub safe during these uncertain times. So we’ve done some digging into the latest advice around Coronavirus and pregnancy to help ease your mind and hopefully answer some questions you may have.
Am I more at risk to COVID-19 while pregnant?
The most recent studies have revealed no indication of pregnant women being more vulnerable to Coronavirus. However, due to the changes to the immune system during pregnancy, pregnant women are still considered an at-risk group and should be taking the recommended precautions to stay safe and avoid infection.
"There's not really good evidence, as far as I can see, that pregnant women are at higher risk than women the same age,"- Professor Collignon
Can COVID-19 be transmitted to my baby while I am pregnant?
There have been a few recent cases where COVID-19 was passed from mother to baby during and after birth (aka vertical transmission). However, according to a current literature review on COVID-19 and pregnancy issues, “Maternal viremia rates rates appear to be low, suggesting placental seeding and vertical transmission are unlikely”. Which basically indicates that the chances of transmitting the virus to your baby is unlikely, at this time.
Can I breastfeed during the COVID-19 outbreak?
If you’ve recently been diagnosed with Coronavirus and are not sure if breastfeeding is safe, don’t be alarmed as recent studies have shown no evidence of the virus being carried through breastmilk. And in fact, is recommended by medical professionals as breastfeeding helps protect babies from a variety of illnesses due to the antibodies and other immune protective factors found within breast milk. Just be sure to take the correct precautions before feeding your baby like washing your hands and wearing a face mask or if you’re expressing, you can have someone else feed it to your baby.
How can I reduce my risk of catching Coronavirus (COVID-19).
The most important step to reducing your risk of contracting the virus is to... Look after yourself. The best ways to do this are by resting, eating well, staying active, maintaining good hygiene, avoiding touching your face, practicing social distancing when you’re outside, keeping up with your antenatal appointments and staying away from cigarette smoke. It’s also important to consider limiting your visitors during and after your pregnancy to reduce risk.
What to do if you have coronavirus symptoms while pregnant
Coronavirus symptoms can include:
- Cold or flu, including runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, cough, aches and pains
- Difficulty breathing
If you do start to show any of the above symptoms it is advised that you phone your midwife, obstetrician or GP immediately. Your healthcare professional will help you with the next steps to take.
Stay up-to-date with the latest Coronavirus resources
If you’re looking to get the best and most reliable information regarding Coronavirus, we’ve added a list of sources for each state and territory health departments.
- Australian Government Department of Health – Coronavirus (COVID-19) health alert
- ACT Health – Novel coronavirus (COVID-19)
- NSW Health – COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
- NT Government Department of Health – Coronavirus
- Queensland Health – Novel coronavirus (COVID-19)
- SA Health – Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- Tasmanian Government Department of Health – Coronavirus
- Victorian Government Department of Health and Human Services – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
- Western Australian Government Department of Health – Coronavirus (COVID-19)